“La Tomatina,” the world-renowned tomato fight that annually draws thousands of tourists to the town of Buñol in eastern Spain, took place on Wednesday. Approximately 15,000 individuals were part of the event, which gained global attention. They used nearly 120 tonnes of fully ripe tomatoes as projectiles and used swimming goggles and diving masks to shield themselves from the tomatoes’ acidic juice.
The origins of this event trace back to a disagreement during the 1945 City Day festivities, resulting in a widespread tomato battle, with the fruits sourced from local greengrocer’s shelves. Since then, critics of the event have decried the wastage of food. However, the tomatoes grown for Tomatina are specifically cultivated for this purpose, and if the celebration did not occur, these tomatoes would not be planted. Thanks to Tomatina, numerous farmers generate income that helps them through the colder months, as the Buñol City Hall procures tomatoes from local growers several months before the annual event.
La Tomatina truly gained international fame in 1980 when it received extensive media coverage and reached a global audience. Celebrated every year on the final Wednesday of August, the event is now regarded as a national and worldwide phenomenon, attracting curious individuals from around the globe. Participants, dressed in brightly coloured t-shirts and shorts, engage in a nearly hour-long tomato battle that transforms the town into a sea of squashed tomatoes. They utilize sunglasses, swimming goggles, and diving masks to safeguard their eyes from tomatoes launched from trucks or hurled into the air by fellow participants. Following the tomato fight, a street celebration typically ensues, lasting until the evening.